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Victor Buford playing his custom melted top 7 string bass
victor buford playing his custom 7 string bass

Dr. Victor A Buford

     Chicago native, Dr. Victor A. Buford, Ph.D., QMHP, nicknamed “The Bass Angel of Love – The Prince of Mercy”, is an accomplished bass player whose smooth, soulful, melodic sound makes his bass a strong, viable instrument which has the ability to reach various genres.

     Favorite genres: Jazz, Funk, Soul, R&B, Gospel, Classical, Rock, Blues, East Indian, Afro-Cuban, African, and World Music.

     Musical Influences: Earth, Wind & Fire, Sly and the Family Stone, Larry Graham, Stanley Clarke, Louis Johnson, Jimi Hendrix and Louis Armstrong.

     Instruments: Bass, Moog Bass, Piccolo Bass, Oboe, English horn, Kalimba and Kora.

     Dr. Buford's musical training originated when he learned how to play bass at an early age. Since picking up the bass, Dr. Buford gained a variety of experience playing assorted styles of Jazz, Funk, Soul, R&B, Gospel, Classical, Rock, Blues, East Indian, Afro-Cuban, African and World Music. He infused these elements into his mode of playing bass, focusing on all of his God given skills. It was at Chicago Vocational High School (CVS) in Chicago, IL, that Dr. Buford honed his bass skills and received training on two additional instruments: Oboe and English horn. He was a member of the award winning Chicago Vocational Orchestra and was also a member of the marching band and the symphonic band at Mississippi Valley State University, in Itta Bena, MS.

     Dr. Buford earned a BA Degree in Political Science from Chicago State University; a MA Degree in Intercultural Studies from Governors State University and a Ph.D. in Human Services from Walden University. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. by way of Nu Delta Chapter. He is also a member of the Prince Hall Affiliation Masons, North Star Lodge, Royal Arch, Royal and Select, Knights Templar, 32nd Degree, and the Shriners.
Dr. Buford has entertained at various venues amassing a number of fans and fine-tuning his unique sound. Throughout the years, Dr. Buford performed with local bands as well as artists throughout the U.S. He opened for legendary acts such as The Manhattans, Confunkshun and Alicia Myers.

     Dr. Buford's debut CD "You Saved Me" explores a diverse blend of instrumentals which resonates deeply with who he is as an artist and allows him to more fully express his talents and experience across a variety of genres including: Jazz, Funk, Soul, R&B, Gospel, Classical, Rock, Blues, East Indian, Afro-Cuban, African and World Music with his unique bass style.


Dr. Victor A Buford's Conklin Experience

     How I Found Out About Conklin

     In 1998 I walked into a Guitar Center store and noticed that they had a 7-string Conklin bass on display near the front entrance. I was quickly drawn to it because of its 7-strings and unique color. I had never seen a bass with a wide neck before. I immediately asked to speak to the store manager to get more information about the bass. To my surprise, the store manager just happened to be a college classmate of mine.

     The store manager told me that it was a coincidence that I came in, because he was just getting ready to call me to let me know that a 7-string Conklin had just come in. He knew that I would be interested because I have always been attracted to basses that were new and fresh. He took the bass off the display and let me hold it. It felt heavier than any bass that I had ever held before. I have small hands and felt that I would never be able to get my hands around the neck, let alone be able to play it. I was fascinated and intrigued by the bass so I forced myself to try to it out. The store manager encouraged me to take the bass to the bass guitar room to give it a shot. When I plugged the bass into an amplifier, I heard tones that were very unfamiliar to me but very pleasing to my ear specifically when I heard the high “F” string cutting through with a clean and precise tone. I immediately asked the store manager for Conklin’s contact information because I was interested in seeing if they would be able to create a custom-made bass for me. I found myself going back to Guitar Center everyday just to play and get familiar with the 7-string Conklin.

     My Experience Working with Conklin

     After obtaining Conklin’s contact information, I immediately called Bill Conklin to introduce myself, to praise him for designing such a beautiful instrument and to express my interest in purchasing one. During our conversation Bill could sense my excitement because I asked so many questions. Bill suggested that I check out Conklin’s catalog.  I received the catalog within 3 days. Although there was a wide assortment of styles and color variations for the custom basses, the 7-string Sidewinder with the melted top stood out.  I sent in my deposit within the next 7 days to begin construction of my custom bass. Bill was very patient with me throughout the process even when I called him at unusual times of the day. He was always willing to take the time to listen to my ideas and to offer suggestions on how my ideas could be implemented. In my experience with Bill over the years, he has really gotten to know who I am and how I identify myself as a bass player, which could best be expressed in my custom bass, from design, to specs, to delivery.

     Experience Playing My Conklin Bass

     I have spent many enjoyable hours practicing, recording and performing live with my custom-made 7-string Conklin Sidewinder. It has allowed me to express myself as a musician in various voice ranges that I could not begin to image. It has allowed me to play from the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, which has expanded my range as a bass player. I enjoyed my 7-string so much and looked forward to expanding my voice range as a bass player even wider. I went back to the catalog and noticed a photo of Bill “Budda” Dickens holding a 9-string bass. I reviewed the specs and noticed that it had Midi capabilities. I immediately contacted Bill Conklin to discuss the possibility of having a 9-string custom-made especially for me. I sent him a deposit and the rest is history. 

     I have received lots of compliments on my 7 and 9-string custom-made Conklin basses. People are amazed by its size, its unique sound, its beauty and its quality workmanship. Everyone wants to know who made it. I proudly say that it’s a custom-made Conklin bass!!!

     I am currently in discussions with Bill to build my third custom-made Conklin, an 11-string Sidewinder which will allow me to take my bass playing to the stratosphere and bring together heaven and earth.

Dr. Victor A Burford




Victor Buford with his custom 9 string bass


Close up of Quilted Maple 9 String Bass